Derek Seltzer v. Green Day, Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Trademarks
  • Date Filed: 08-18-2011
  • Case #: CV 10-2103 PSG
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • Full Text Opinion

An image must be used in commerce in order to qualify as a trademark under the Lanham Act.

Opinion (Gutierrez): In 2003, Derek Seltzer ("Seltzer") designed an image entitled the Scream Icon, which was artistically represented as a contorted face screaming. Seltzer reproduced the image on posters and stickers, which were displayed on various public spaces around Los Angeles and disseminated online. In 2008, Richard Staub ("Staub") photographed one of the Scream Icon images in Los Angeles. Green Day, a well known music band, then used Staub's photograph of the Scream Icon in a video backdrop during a live performance. However, neither Seltzer nor Green Day ever used the image on the sale of merchandise or in any commercial context. Therefore, the court GRANTED Green Day's motion for summary judgment.

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